When Martin Geijer decided to bottle the Swedish mulled wine his father made every Christmas, he didn't realize he'd be inventing a new drink.
Scaling up home-sized batches of glögg into a retail product turned out to be more challenging than Geijer expected. He met Lance Winters of St. George Spirits while researching permits, and recruited the Alameda distiller to make the glögg for him.
In the process, Geijer Glögg ($30 for 750 ml at K&L Wines or the Jug Shop) turned into a liqueur. Now the cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, almonds and bitter orange in his great-grandmother's recipe are infused into neutral spirits instead of red wine, and lightly sweetened.
Working with St. George changed how Geijer drinks his glögg. "Much to our own surprise, glögg liqueur pairs beautifully with bourbon, gin and rum," he says. He's even come up with glöggy cocktail recipes.
But it's just as good the traditional way. At 20 percent alcohol, the liqueur has the same potency as soju, which means you can warm it straight out of the bottle.
Just as with mulled wine, the fog of spices and citrus fruits emanating from the stove seem to thaw you out before the glögg hits your glass.
Instant holiday cheer.